South Africa : Durban joins Earth Hour 2009 campaign

Durban - Durban's Mayor Obed Mlaba has pledged his support for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Earth Hour 2009 campaign, a global initiative to raise awareness around energy and the effects of climate change.

The WWF campaign aims to have more than one billion people in 1000 cities turn off their lights for one hour on 28 March 2009 at 20:30 in a demonstration of support for determined international action on climate change.

The eThekwini Municipality, as well as the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), have now joined the campaign and will switch off their lights for an hour on 28 March.

The municipality is also planning to hold a parade through the city centre on the day to raise awareness around the event and its energy saving campaign.

The likes of Ryk Neethling, Bryan Habana, Marc Lottering, Freshlyground, Jo-Ann Strauss, Soli Philander, Leon Schuster, the Moroka Swallows and the Parlotones are among the local celebrities who have pledged to do the same.

Archbishop Tutu, who is regarded as the patron for the WWF initiative across the world, Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille and E-TV's Head of Weather and Meteorology Derek van Dam, who has become one of South Africa's favourite weathermen, will also participate.

Mr Mlaba said: "The Earth Hour campaign is the ideal initiative to raise awareness on the effect of excessive energy consumption and wastage on the earth. We all need to do our bit to save energy, live responsibly and reduce wastage to ensure a brighter future for the generations to come."

This project fits in with the city's current "Switch Off, Unplug, Save" campaign, which aims to save 10 percent of electricity consumed by all Durban residents.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICC, Miller Matola, said he fully supported the campaign and the drive to make individuals more aware of the need to conserve energy. "We are a significant consumer of power and are committed to playing whatever role we can in saving energy."

Durban's mayor has urged all residents, hotels, businesses and property owners to heed the global call to switch off their lights and appliances for one hour on 28 March.

Launching the campaign in South Africa in February, Chief Executive Officer of the WWF, Dr Morne du Plessis, said Earth Hour 2009 had received much support from a broad range of well known South Africans from mayors, sports stars and media personalities.

He explained that action against climate change must be taken by world leaders when they meet at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. The leaders must deliver a definitive plan to put an end to runaway carbon emissions.

The agreement world leaders in Copenhagen will deliberate on is expected to replace the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2012.

South Africans wishing to sign up to join the initiative may log onto - BuaNews